Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have reviewed all solar cell technologies with tuning capabilities in a new study.
They have also looked at how such technologies could be used in a range of applications, including building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), solar windows, vehicle-integrated solar, greenhouses, wireless sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable electronics, floating, and underwater equipment.
“These tuning capabilities in adjustable solar cells cover a multitude of aspects such as bandgap, transparency, color, thermal management, mechanical flexibility, weight, and size,” the scientists said. “Tunable PV can be defined as solar cell technologies that present a manipulation of inherent properties through material design of the functional components and retrofits or via device architecture engineering.”
They described the principles and general criteria of different tuning approaches and presented the most relevant tunable PV device concepts and the most representative realized tunable solar cell techs. They also presented all possible applications that are enabled by tunable PV technologies and for each PV integration scenario, they highlighted the relevant tuning aspects.
“A critical evaluation in the framework of a TRL approach is addressed to discuss the technical maturity across different PV technologies customized for specific integration schemes,” they said.
The researchers focused on the optoelectronic and thermal tuning capabilities of PV devices. In particular, they considered factors such as absorber bandgap, color perception, visible transmission, and thermal management. They presented their findings in “Tunable Photovoltaics: Adapting Solar Cell Technologies to Versatile Applications,” which was recently published in Advanced Energy Materials.
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